Harvey: Fears grow over severe flooding risk

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International desk, August 27: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned that severe flooding is his main worry as the rains from Tropical Storm Harvey continue to lash the state.Mr Abbott said the cities of Houston and Corpus Christi had already received as much as 20in (50cm) of rain.

He said another 40in of rain could be due before the storm subsides midweek.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by strong winds and thousands are without power. Two deaths have been confirmed, in the Rockport area and Houston.

In Aransas County, where Rockport is the chief town, a person died in a house fire on Friday night

A woman died in Houston as she drove through flooded streets on Saturday

Houston, the fourth biggest city in the US, could see 2in-3in (5cm-7.5cm) of a rain an hour on Saturday night, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

About 4,500 inmates from prisons south of Houston are being evacuated to other prisons in east Texas because the Brazos River nearby is rising significantly, officials say.

In the wreckage of Rockport locals are the first responders.

Residents have been going door-to-door checking to see if their neighbours are dead or alive.

The little town has not been destroyed but it is in bad shape, particularly in the poorer quarters where trailer homes have been smashed open by the wind.

Debris is trailing from the tops of trees and on the porch of one modest property a rain-sodden American flag lies on the ground: a splash of red, white and blue amid the green leaves of fallen trees.

Most people appear to have got out just in time with many leaving only at the last minute as the full power of the storm became clear.

Harvey began as a major category four hurricane – the first to make landfall in the US in 12 years – before it was downgraded to a tropical storm later on Saturday.

Mr Abbott warned of the “potential for very dramatic flooding” from the storm while expanding a declaration of emergency in the state from 30 counties to 50.

He has mobilised 1,800 military personnel to help with rescue and repair operations.

Forecasts say that up to 40in (1m) of rain could fall in some areas of the middle and upper Texas coast, the hurricane center (NHC) warned. Such precipitation could trigger flooding in low-lying areas and near water outlets and rivers.

Source: Agencies